November 11, 2012

No Upgrade Necessary

On Friday afternoon, I called a local camera store to see if they had the new Nikon I wanted in stock. I had been eyeing this new camera for months and decided I really, really wanted it. It's a great camera, one is different from and better than my other two cameras for a few reasons, and by Friday afternoon I decided those reasons were enough to pull the trigger and make the purchase. I was certain I'd have it before the weekend was over.

However, yesterday I had a shoot and did something I haven't done since the early days of my photography business. I used only one camera and one lens. Typically, during a shoot, I'll use both cameras and interchange any one of three lenses depending on the shot I am trying to get. But yesterday, I used only my Nikon D300s and a 50mm/1.4G lens. I didn't set out to do this. It just kind of happened, but I am glad it did. This reenforced something I've heard time and time again: Better equipment does not make you a better photographer.

I am pretty proud to say that with limited equipment, I was still able to capture all of the images below. It didn't hurt that I had Nicole, Steve and Maddie in front of my lens either. This family is just the best. And such good friends to boot.
So will I get this new camera? Yes, probably sometime next year. But yesterday's shoot made me step back and realize that it's not an immediate need. I can do just fine with the equipment I have and the skills I have learned over the past three-and-a-half years. Confidence is so much better than a new camera.

To Nicole, Steve and Maddie, thanks for a fun afternoon. I can't wait to do this all again with baby number two!

November 3, 2012


I thought that once the wedding was over, I'd have so much time I wouldn't know what to do with myself. That has not been the case. As is the year of 2012, these past two months have flown by. Hence, no posting since early September. But all these wonderful things have happened since then. Great wonderful things that all deserve posts of their own. Some several.

Like getting married.

 Like going to Panama for my honeymoon.

Like how we Dog Shamed Taylor for eating a present we brought back for some friends. 

Like this photo shoot on one of the most gorgeous fall weekends I can remember.

Like redecorating this bedroom and getting a new king size bed.

Like our sweet old cat Itchy who sadly passed away right before the wedding.

Like how cute my dog is.

Ok, that last one not so much. I've talked about that a lot, so maybe it doesn't warrant it's own post, but he's too cute to not post a picture.

So anyway, a lot going on in these parts right now and in the months to come. Here's hoping I get back to posting some more things here before the New Year. 

September 8, 2012

Dancing In the Waves

This morning, I was was very fortunate to hang out with a family I've photographed a couple times before. I so look forward to seeing them, camera in hand or not. They are the kind of people who will always greet you with a warm cup of coffee or a glass of wine. And those are my kind of people.

In this family is a little girl by the name of Elizabeth. I've photographed Elizabeth before, and at times she's been a little unsure of the presence of my camera. But today, this little girl was on fire. We started off at her home and then moved to a beach not too far away. We were all running around but at one moment, I looked over and saw Elizabeth having the time of her life splashing alone in the water. It was as if she was dancing with the waves.

This series of photos kills me. I feel like this is what childhood looks like. Or should look like. It also kills me because as much as Elizabeth is a blond-haired, blue-eyed little 4-year-old girl, some of these photos (especially the third from the end) give a glimpse of the girl she's growing into. But boy, does she ever make me long for the days of being a 4-year-old dancing with the waves.

September 3, 2012

A Little Perspective On A Little Moment

There are 33 days until my wedding. At least that is what The Knot tells me. Every time I sign in, there's a reminder in the upper right hand corner of the countdown to my wedding date. It's one of the main reasons I no longer visit The Knot. That and the fact that I've determined bridal message boards are by far one of the worst corners of the Internet.

You see I don't need The Knot to let me know how many more days there are. Oct. 6 is a date that has been front and center in my mind for over a year now. Ever since Mike and I selected that as our wedding date, it cannot escape my mind. Whenever anybody mentions to me something going on in their life, be it the due date of their first born, their own anniversary, a significant birthday, I can't help but think how that date for that person relates to my own big date. And I hate myself for doing this. Long before I ever got engaged I swore I would not be the type of bride that insisted the world revolved around her own special day. I hated those brides. I mean, it's just one day. Come on. Get a grip. Somewhere though in this 20-month engagement, my mental state shifted.

It's no secret that I do not enjoy wedding planning. I will be the first to tell you it has been a process, and if I were not so cheap, I would have hired a wedding planner long ago. In fact, some of the first words out of my mouth after Mike proposed were, "Fuck. Now I have to plan a wedding."

But I have. In 19 months time, I have crossed off a significant number of items from my To Do List. And in the process, I have created a multi-layered, multi-faceted spreadsheet that would make the most anal retentive person squeal with delight. So even though I have dreaded the wedding planning process, I have put a lot of time into it because I am the type of girl where if I am going to do something, I'm going to do it right.

The unfortunate side effect of all this planning though is that at times I fear I've lost sight of the end goal. The goal is not at the end of the day that everyone has had a good time. The goal is that at the end of the day I get to call Mike my husband. This fact, this wonderful, gloriously small fact at times surfaces to the forefront of my mind, and when it does instantly my eyes well up with tears.

A month ago, Mike and I sat down with our pastor to go over the details of the ceremony. We were reading through the order of things, discussing scripture passages and then we got to the end. The end, the part where the pastor says my favorite words, where he blesses Mike and I and everyone in attendance and then pronounces us man and wife. That part. Right there. I know it's going to happen. I know it is part of the timeline of the day. But that part right there is magical. That part is what everything is about. So when our pastor said the words he's going to say on Oct. 6, and I mentally placed myself in that moment, it was overwhelming in the most wonderful way possible. That moment is a beautiful thing. It is a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

We get so few of those once-in-a-lifetime moments in our lives. When Mike proposed he claims there was a long silence before I said yes. I think that moment may have seemed a little longer to one of us than the other. I will agree though that I hesitated. Not because I was weighing my options. There were no options. There never has been. It has always been Mike, and no one else. I am as sure of that as I am the sky is blue. When he asked me to marry him, I did pause, but I paused because I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. That was my moment to be asked that question, and I drank it in slowly - a little too slowly for Mike's taste.

These moments, these precious, fleeting, life-altering moments don't happen all that often. And when they do, sometimes they pass without notice. Other times, they have been in the works for the better part of two years. So this moment, the one that will happen on Oct. 6, is the reason I have created my behemoth of a spreadsheet. It is why I have spent possibly far too much time focused on the details. Because once that moment happens, I'll want to do nothing more than celebrate it. And the 20 months of planning that have lead up to it, I hope will be worth it. And I am hoping, if I have used those 20 months wisely, I'll be able to relax and enjoy knowing the details have all be taken care of.

August 26, 2012

Available Light

Not working out of a photography studio means not ever knowing what my shooting conditions will be until I arrive. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised with big windows and south facing views. Other times, garden units with dim overhead lighting await me.

Given that my photography lives and dies on the light that is present, I am instantly analyzing available light the second I walk into most rooms, assessing how I'd conduct a shoot if it had to happen right there in that moment. It's my own form of training. If I had my way, I would make every shoot be at sunset on the lake shore during summer. Since that unfortunately cannot happen, I try to be ready for any and everything.

I was heading to my shoot this Saturday morning, looking at the harsh shadows the light was casting on the cement, and I just knew I would be limited. The neighborhood I was heading into didn't have much in the way of mature trees, and it was way too bright outside to stand anywhere but in the shade. I was hoping for a patch of shade or a room with good light. And that's just what I got. It wasn't much to work with, but it was more than enough. Especially since my subjects were beyond adorable.

We did what we had to do. We worked it out in the living room and in the front yard. And I am incredibly happy with what I was able to get. 

Just goes to show me that all I need are cute subjects, a room with windows and a patch of shade. Oh and a bubble blower helps too.